LaLa Couture Boutique
Courtesy of Molly Carey

From the outside, LaLa Couture doesn't look like much. It's situated in an unassuming shopping plaza off Sunrise Boulevard. Inside, though, LaLa Couture is reminiscent of Marie Antoinette's closet. Each wall is a different shade of pink, and an ornate chandelier lights the store. Frilly cocktail dresses, geometric tops, distressed jeans, and crocheted bikinis hang off racks. Stilettos and sandals line the walls and are displayed on shelves. Necklaces, earrings, and bracelets are on display near the counter. The owner, a friendly woman named Molly Carey, opened an online shop after moving to Florida from Los Angeles. Eventually, her store became so popular that she opened up a bricks-and-mortar. Molly is often spotted near the register and is always happy to offer fashion advice based on either the occasion or your personal style. Since pieces cost about $100 to $300, you'd better come here after a birthday or bar mitzvah.

Readers' choice: A Nose For Clothes

Murder on the Beach Bookstore

The best bookstores offer a sense of community. You want to feel like the staff has read everything in the store and can predict what you're in the mood for just by getting a whiff of your cologne. When it comes to books about death and intrigue, store manager Joanne Sinchuk is the bookseller of your dreams (er, nightmares?). Murder on the Beach specializes exclusively in mystery novels, and Sinchuk was even the former president of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association back when, she remembers, there were between 60 and 70 mystery-only bookshops in the nation. Now, there are barely 30. "We had to disband the association two years ago," she says morosely. But her passion for the genre hasn't waned. There's no better place to dig into a good mystery novel than the beach, and if you're a collector, Murder on the Beach sells signed books online to people all over the world. "We've got a big client in Finland," Sinchuk says. Luckily, you won't have to travel that far to get your fix.

Readers' choice: Murder on the Beach Bookstore

Your butt is sunken in on one of two black couches in the front of the parlor while your eyes move shiftily around the surrounding walls from drawing to drawing and painting to painting. Trophies and awards line the shelves. Whether it's your first or 50th time getting inked, you have no reason for jitters at No Hard Feelings. The owner, Chris Blinston, was on the sixth season of Ink Master, where his commitment to quality and attention to detail were broadcast to a national audience. All five of the shop's artists are exceptionally skilled at realistic as well as traditional-style tattoos, delivering custom masterpieces on the daily. What's more, they're as friendly and professional as they are talented. Whether you're looking to get a few stars on your ankle or a blue-ringed octopus from shoulder to elbow, going to No Hard Feelings for it is a no-brainer.

Readers' choice: Kreepy Tiki Tattoo

Joy's Liquor
Jess Swanson

It's easy to miss Joy's Liquors. It's located in a shopping center in Tamarac beside a quiet nail salon. Most shoppers en route to Publix quickly dart by, heads turned down as though focused on their weekly grocery lists, and miss it. But those of us paying attention will see the tiny window storefront — a collage of Heineken, Coors Light, and Sam Adams signs. At the door, a statue of a life-sized turkey with a medal hanging around its neck keeps watch. A friendly and knowledgeable attendant is typically pacing the store's three tall, narrow aisles that display the inventory of beer, wine, and spirits. Their supply of Caribbean rums and gins is a point of pride. Regulars are called out by name. In the back, a vending machine sells cigars. It's also acceptable to ditch your shopping cart full of groceries outside and stop in on your way back to your car from Publix.

At Cosmic Charlie's, it's business in the front, party in the back. By "business," we mean shelves packed with Bob Marley and Grateful Dead memorabilia, incense, and huge tie-dye tapestries like the one your first high school boyfriend had covering the window in his bedroom. And by "party," we mean a ROOR-ing good time (wink wink). Need some glassware for your 420-friendly party? Charlie's got you covered. Interested in vaporizing some of that, uh, tobacco? They've got a Volcano stocked that's ready to erupt. Best of all, it's right next to Mojo Donuts and North Perry Airport, so you can dish on some of Broward's best donuts while catching the red-eye flight in the parking lot.

Readers' choice: Peace Pipe

Sensations Video
Photo by Angel Melendez

Sex sells... and so do rubber vaginas, penis pumps, anal beads (with the always-appreciated lube accompaniment), and various other sexual paraphernalia. From childhood to the grave, people love their toys. They also love the secret and not-so-secret perversions in which adult toys allow them to engage. Sensations Video in Hollywood offers a wide array of erotic knickknacks as well as a killer selection of porn DVDs and sexy outfits and a spirit that harkens back to the days of Boogie Nights and Debbie Does Dallas. Although the store is clean and crisp, there's an undeniable naughty underground feel that's equal parts gratifying and grimy. It's pre-Giuliani New York in the '80s, but cleaned up and sanitized. Come for the ball-gags and strap-on dildos, and stay for the video arcade section with private viewing booths and glory holes.

The perfect tattoo for a woman's lady parts should read "Handle With Care." (Or, if you're anything like a certain ex, "Insert Here.") Even if just for an annual exam, women all have to go into an office with pants off and legs spread once in a while. Of course, this may be a familiar pose for some (like the aforementioned ex) — but not for all of us. Fortunately, Dr. Lebow is the doctor that makes a trip to the gyno quick and painless. She takes her time to answer any questions ("Is that smell normal?" "Does this look infected?") but keeps visits to the point and doesn't try to banter about who just died on Game of Thrones or how good "Lemonade" was. And yes, thank goodness, that smell is normal. The same isn't true for that ex, though...

Leading psychologists and the entire staff of HGTV agree: Home decor is important for one's well-being. Fill a home with funky furniture, and life will be more fun. While it may be tempting to get lost in the wonderland/hell of IKEA, let us steer you instead to a better option: Preview Mod. Located in Fort Lauderdale's North Beach Arts District, this shop specializes in midcentury modern goodness that any collector would swoon over, including art and lighting as well as chairs and credenzas. The prices may be a little north of that Fjalkinge shelf you saw next to the Swedish meatballs, but the shop's rare designer finds — many authenticated and certified — will make you want to drop some coin. Just call it an investment in your mental health. You won't go loony putting a goddamn bookshelf together.

Bethesda Bargain Box
Angel Melendez

Making your way through the narrow, twisting hallways of Bethesda Bargain Box, the environment seems a little dated, and hardly anything on offer is from the modern era. That means there are surprises around each winding corner: discounted appliances, board games, books, clothes, furniture, records, shoes, and more. Now when we say "discounted," that sounds like an occasional sale. At BBB, they seem to have forgotten that sales have end dates. Things are perpetually cheap. A stack of books, let's say seven, might run you fewer than five bucks. Also, the employees are so unsettlingly kind and helpful, it seems too good to be true. As if burdening your shopping bag while barely opening your wallet isn't enough of a reason to visit, bargain hunting at BBB is good for the soul as well. Unlike at Goodwill, all the proceeds from Bethesda Bargain Box do actually go to a good cause as the funds are used to buy equipment for Bethesda Hospital and to fund medical scholarships for local students. It's a win all around — for both the area and people's homemade Halloween costumes.

Readers' choice: Out of the Closet

El Tiburon Seafood Restaurant & Grill
Kristin Bjornsen

We'll admit that hearing the words "cash-only ceviche" and "Swap Shop" in the same sentence may sound like the formula for a rip-roarin' case of vibrio. But head to the west side of the Swap, beyond the God Is Good Shoe Store (where the motto is "Nothing Comes Before the Time"), past the produce stands and aisles of coco frío, and stop at El Tiburon for some of the best mixed ceviche $12 can buy. If the Swap is open, so are they. Walking in from the parking lot, the first thing you'll hear is the music: Spanish guitar humming over a PA and live acts on the weekend. Next, the smell of crisp, deep-fried shrimp draws you closer. Minutes later, you're up to your neck in longneck Coronas and baskets of jalea. El Tiburon is far enough from the vendors with whom you regret making eye contact that you don't feel awkward taking your wallet out. It's also partitioned by large potted palms and cooled with large overhead fans, like its own little oasis in the Swap swamp. How will you have the energy to fuel your trek through the endless isles of car stereos and train horns, socks on socks on socks, oversized Sunshine State towels, white old lady porn, knives, and assless outfits only a prostitute would wear, without a belly full of raw fish and a Michelada (or three)? Lord knows you can't be sober and at the Swap Shop on a weekend.

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